Harbaugh: Future remains at Stanford
STANFORD, Calif. -- Jim Harbaugh wants to put an end to rumors linking him to other jobs, saying he will remain Stanford's football coach.
Athletic director Bob Bowlsby said in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Saturday that Harbaugh signed a long-awaited three-year contract extension through the 2014 season "a while ago."
Last month, Bowlsby and Harbaugh said the deal was close to being announced. The lack of a formal announcement helped fuel rumors this week linking Harbaugh to openings at Notre Dame and Kansas.
Television and radio reports in the Kansas City area said Harbaugh could accept the opening at Kansas to replace Mark Mangino as early as Saturday night. Harbaugh was in New York on Saturday to support his star running back Toby Gerhart at the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
"Though the rumor mill has been running full gear, my resolve and future proudly remains as head coach at Stanford University," Harbaugh said in a statement issued Saturday. "The reports of the last 24 hours are untrue, though I respect the University of Kansas and athletic director Lew Perkins.
"I trust this puts an end to these rumors and reports, allowing the focus of fans and the media to shine a bright spotlight on Toby Gerhart today. I love Toby and our players and coaches at Stanford, and as Toby told reporters, I am a Stanford man."
Harbaugh has overseen a remarkable turnaround in his three years at Stanford. He arrived following the 2006 season, taking over a one-win team from Walt Harris that struggled to compete in the Pac-10.
But Harbaugh led the Cardinal to upsets of Southern California and rival California in his first season, fell one win shy of a bowl bid his second year before finally breaking through this season.
Led by Gerhart and redshirt freshman quarterback Andrew Luck, the Cardinal (No. 21 BCS, No. 19 AP) had their best season in years. They beat Oregon and USC in consecutive weeks to move into the AP poll for the first time since 2001, stayed in contention for a Pac-10 title until late in the season, and earned their bowl bid in eight years.
Stanford (8-4) will face Oklahoma (7-5) in the Brut Sun Bowl on Dec. 31. Even though Gerhart is expected to enter the NFL draft, Harbaugh will still have Luck and strong recruiting classes to build around.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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